Choose a house plan style that reflects you

There is more to picking house plans than just for the sake of shelter. Choosing a home plan is a personal and intimate process that should be treated as if you are building a relationship. Searching for the right plan can be a lot of things to a lot of people. Some people prefer house plan styles that are modest or restrained, while others prefer to have a more elaborate and flashy design. Often times this is a direct reflection of who the homeowners are. As a new homeowner, you should choose a house plan style that reflects you. We are not just talking about the interior, we are are talking the home’s exterior as well. The facade of your new house plans should reflect your personality, style, and taste.

When your friends and neighbors pull into your driveway and see your home their reaction should be, “That’s so you!”. Onlookers should see you and your home as one in the same as it relates to the aforementioned personality, style, and taste. So, how will you choose a house plan style that reflects you? There are quite a few architectural styles to choose from, but many of these styles share similar design attributes. These attributes include Rustic design, Romantic design, Classical design, and Modern design.

Choose a house plan style that reflects your personality

Rustic Design

Are you a person who is drawn to natural materials such as wood or stone and feel at one with nature? Perhaps you are attracted to designs that are simple, natural, aged, or have elements of distress. What about a home that has an organic earthy feel to it? If that is the case, then a rustic home plan design may be what you are looking for. This type of home is very approachable, relaxed, and organic with it’s surroundings.

Walton house plan rendering - rustic design
Walton – Mountain house plan: Click image for plan details

Rustic is an all-encompassing term for many different house plan designs and styles that include Bungalow, Craftsman, Farmhouse, Mountain, and Tudor. Each has it’s own unique element in the rustic design style.

  1. Bungalow house plans were traditionally small one story home plans in it’s infancy, but they are generally more popular in the one and one half story variant today. Bungalows are low profiled designs that are well-proportioned and balanced. Exterior finishes include a combination of natural stone or brick, lap siding, wood shingles, or stucco. Square tapered columns are a main feature of the front porch and they are supported by a brick or stone base that makes the home feel organic to its surroundings.
  2. Craftsman house plans are characterized by their bungalow-inspired layouts. They are usually larger in size and are generally one or two story home plans that are designed to express a natural form of beauty in nature. The building materials of an authentic Craftsman home will have their roots in natural materials that include wood, stucco, stone, and rustic brick. These are the most common materials used for the exterior finishes. Cedar brackets at the gable roof continues this rugged theme. As with the bungalow, you often see the craftsman home design with tapered columns with a masonry base.
  3. Mountain house plans take advantage of nature by bringing the outdoors in with the use of windows and natural materials. Mountain homes tend to look as if they have grown organically, as these designs often take on the natural materials found in and around the area. The use of natural stone is a key to the organic look. Timber, brick, lap siding, board-n-batten siding, and metal roofing are the most common finishes on this rustic design. In most cases, the roofs are accented with metal while asphalt or wood shingles serve as the main roofing material.
  4. Farmhouse plans can take shape in a 1 story, 1-1/2 or 2 story design. They are not connected to a particular style that can be identified by a set of fixed features, but the design is connected with a way of living or lifestyle. Horizontal siding or board and batten is the most common exterior finish. Brick is sometimes used to add a decorative water table making the home feel grounded and connected to its surroundings. Board and batten shutters are also common on rustic farm house plans.
  5. Tudor house plans are designed to emulate modest English homes of the 16th century, but in a modernized way. These home plans are typically 1-1/2 or 2 story buildings. The facade and floor plan is generally asymmetrical in design with a steeply pitch roof. Brick or stone is the main material used for exterior finishes on the first floor of Tudors. On the upper floor, white stucco is used in select areas which are accented with large, dark timber beams creating the illusion that the house is built on a wooden frame.

Romantic Design

Perhaps a rustic design doesn’t have an option for you the choose a house plan style that reflects you? If not, that’s okay. Maybe your personality is more aligned with a Romantic design. If you are enamored with home styles that evoke a sense of the distant past, you will probably be drawn to designs that are centered around the late 18th and 19th century revivalist movement. Romantic design emphasizes individuality, imagination, emotion, and vision. This movement includes Greek Revival and Gothic Revival home designs.

Twin Oaks house plan rendering romantic design
Twin Oaks – Greek Revival house plan: Click image for plan details
  1. Greek Revival home plans are known for their intricate detailing, symmetry, depth and balance. They are often designed with a covered entry or large front porch that is supported by Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian columns. One and a half story or two story examples are common place with this romantic design. General speaking, Greek Revival homes are mostly modest rectangular shaped designs with clean lines and limited ornamentation. Exterior finishes are usually a lap siding or stucco finish. Some examples may use a brick water table along with the siding or stucco finish.
  2. Gothic Revival house plans are recognized by the pointed arch. The point arch is used in windows, doors, porches, entries, dormers, and roof gables. Steeply pitched roofs with front facing gables is another key characteristic of this romantic design. The layout of the floor plans are generally asymmetrical and either have covered entries or one story porches. Gothic Revival homes are commonly seen with lap siding or brick exterior finishes.
  3. Italianate house plans are distinguished by characteristics that include a low roof profile, wide eaves with decorative brackets, tall & narrow windows, and usually a large one story porch. Bay windows are a common feature in Italianate homes which can be as tall as four stories. These picturesque home show a preference for asymmetry and variety in the floor plan designs. The style fares well in grand country estates or middle-class row houses due to its flexibility. Italianate homes are typically built with a brick or wood clapboard finish.

Classical Design

If you are a person who appreciates the look of classic elements, symmetry, and order, then a classical design is a house plan style that reflects your characteristics. This style of home is closely aligned with the era of Romantic design; however, Classically design homes generally have a more grandiose appearance, with columns and symmetrical window configurations. Classical designs can be modest in size too. This is a style that came into fashion in the late 19th century. Modern styling or current influences are noticeably absent in its makeup.

Malveaux rendering - Classical design
Malveaux – Colonial house plan: Click image for plan details
  1. Colonial house plans are usually simple rectangular designs. Symmetry is a major design factor for the floor plan layout. These homes are borderline minimalist, if not for the classic detailing on the exterior and interior finishes. Colonial home plans tend to be two to three stories tall and are usually finished with brick or wood facades. Other features include decorative entryways, moderate to steep roofs, roof dormers, and multi-pane windows. The windows may or may not be flanked with louvered or panel shutters.
  2. Cape Cod house plans represents classic, old-school Americana. They are built as one stories, one and a half, or two story homes. The floor plan designs are symmetrical and it has a moderately high pitched roof. The Cape usually has a center door that is either not covered or it may have a small covered entry. Exterior finishes are typically lap siding with louvered shutters. Cedar shakes are another example of exterior cladding. Pediment windows are a regular feature in this classic style of design.

Modern Design

If your style and preferences tend to evolve as you develop over your life, then a modern design is a house plan style that reflects your characteristics. Modern design involves the use of straightforward design elements, removing the use of elaborate ornamentation and decoration. The focus of this design is of pure geometric form, simple & plain materials, open spaces, and clean lines. Modern designs evolve with the trends and styles while adhering to design principles that doesn’t connect it to a specific era. Key characteristics include a combination of architectural styles, open or semi-open floor plans, large windows, elements of asymmetry, and a free-form design composition.

Frankford house plan elevation A
Frankford A – Modern Traditional house plan: Click image for plan details
  1. Modern Contemporary house plans refer to the style of the present day. Contemporary design is a constantly evolving style. This style reflects architectural trends of the moment and that can look very different in twenty or even ten years. Houses that are considered contemporary now my be a passing trend or it can have a lasting affect and transcend the era. This style of home design embraces minimalist elements, open concept designs, and a blend of mixed finishing materials.
  2. Modern Traditional house plans feature the sleek, simple, contemporary lines of the modern style mixed with traditional design elements of local and regional areas. This design usually have a larger footprint when compared to modern contemporary homes. The floor plan space is typically divided into a number of small single-purpose rooms. Homes designed in this vernacular draw influences from historic styles like Craftsman, Victorian, Colonial, or Neoclassical architecture just to name a few examples. This often create some unique and interesting forms of home designs. Exterior finishes include brick, stone, stucco, wood siding, or a combination of them all.